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Trustees Release Final Study Plan for Mink Injury Determination for Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment, New York


07/13/2012


American mink PCBs-related injury to the American mink (Mustela vison), shown here, in Upper Hudson River drainage in New York, is the focus of the newly-released, final Study Plan for Mink Injury Determination. Photo credit: Roy W. Lowe, FWS.

 

On July 13, 2012, the federal and State natural resource trustees released the final, publicly-reviewed “Study Plan for Mink Injury Determination -- Investigation of Mink Abundance and Density Relative to Polychlorinated Biphenyl Contamination within the Hudson River Drainage.”

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of New York, represented by New York Department of Environmental Conservation;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Between 1947 and 1977, the General Electric Company released up to 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into Hudson River from two capacitor manufacturing plants, one in Hudson Falls and the other in Fort Edward. In 1984, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed a 200-mile stretch of the River in New York -- from Hudson Falls to the Battery in New York City -- on the National Priorities List due to PCBs contamination.

These PCBs releases contaminated sediments in the Hudson River injuring natural resources. In 2002, the trustees finalized a strategy to determine these injuries in the publicly-reviewed “Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan.” This Damage Assessment Plan identified otter and mink health as an area of pertinent biological investigation. The final Study Plan for Mink Injury Determination is being undertaken pursuant to this Assessment Plan.

The objective of the Study is to estimate abundance and density of the American mink in areas within the Upper Hudson River drainage, where elevated levels of PCBs have been found, and to compare that with estimated mink abundance and density in an uncontaminated, reference river drainage, in this case, the Mohawk River. No mink will be killed, trapped or adversely affected in the Study.

Pursuant to the Damage Assessment Plan, the results of the work conducted under this Study will be peer reviewed then publicly released.

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